Many years ago, my young family moved from the 24/7 bustle of Chicago to a rural life in the country. The first thing that hit me was the quiet. I was born and raised in the city. Then as now, Chicago never sleeps. Background noise from traffic and people is everywhere in the city. You just tune it out.
The second stark contrast was the rural night. It was dark! In this very dark environment I learned something about myself that had been hidden in the glow of the city lights. I was night blind like my mother was—unable to see when I go from a lighted situation to a dark one. Gradual dimming is much better for me than going from bright lights to total darkness. My eyes adjust to the change more slowly than most people’s eyes. Thankfully, I have family and friends to lead me from here to there while my eyes adjust so I don’t stumble over things. lol
Solitude was the next stark discovery in my urban to rural transition. The initial solitude was difficult at first, but one of my husband’s elderly teachers took it upon himself to introduce us to our new county. It was very sweet of them to take us under their wings. He and his wife included our family in community luncheons, college lectures, and music events such as bell choirs and barbershop quartet concerts. With their help, we happily sunk our roots here. They have both since passed on, but whenever they come up in our fond memories, we always remember the Barbershop concerts. And that’s my segue.
At one time, the barbershop was more than a place to get a haircut, it was a men’s social hub too. As the story goes, barbershop singing begins here — the barber or a patron would sing a melody and before long, the waiting customers would harmonize in the background. I don’t know if that’s actually the way it came about, but it sounds good. 🙂
Barbershop singing is an American form of a cappella singing. A cappella means sung in a chapel and refers to devotional songs originally sung by monks (like Gregorian chants). I’ve encountered date discrepancies in this little bit of research and some sources say it started in the 1930s. But barbershop singing is actually older than that. It appears sometime in the 1860s and became a thing of its own by the 1920s. Minstrel stage shows of this time featured men’s quartets as olio acts. Because I’m a wordie, I’ll add here that the word olio originates with the Spanish olla for stew. So… olio acts could be any act drawn from the creative hodgepodge lingering in the wings. These acts were performed before the curtain while stage hands worked behind the curtain to prepare for the next real act. It was both convenient and inexpensive to use a quartet to kill time because it was only voice –no props or instruments were required.
Remember this? LOL
And today is Barbershop Appreciation Day.
My 100 things will focus on malapropisms and I’ll stick with it until I can’t find any more. From the French mal a propos (meaning inappropriate). Dictionary.com defines malapropisms as an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound.
Here’s one for today:
The officer comprehended the suspect.
Today is Author Cindy Spencer Pape‘s blog day
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